I went to the casino for the first time in my life. Well, that’s not true. I have been to the casino before but it was in Vegas. Now, before you get too excited let me explain that, that time didn’t really count.
Because I didn’t gamble. Yes, that’s right: I gambled. But I gambled less than you might have expected. When people say, “the night is young”: they mean it. Our night was young. And my two friends and I headed to the casino about 6:35 pm and arrived at the casino at around 7 pm. My friend Mark had a ritual that we all had to abide in, in order to please the Gambling Gods, we had to have a shower and dress nice. Now when someone says, “shower” to you, it’s pretty straight forward. But when someone says, “look nice,” the definition can be interpreted in many different ways. For me, it was finally the time to put on my nice “Alchemy” Jackson Pollock tie, my French Connection suit jacket, a maroon shirt, my brown dress pants, and my custom made maroon Nike shoes from London, England.
“Coz’ every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.” Though, I never picked up one girl or really won any money, so I guess I wasn’t that “sharp.” Mark saw me dressed as if I was going to some fancy dinner and was shocked. He told me, “classy and ready to party.” I was mostly strictly classy. He was wearing a sweatshirt with a nice black shirt underneath. Nothing too fancy. Still, I stayed the way I was. My style is clearly different from his. See, the way I figure it, I don’t really like wearing dress shoes all the time. Sometimes I like to pull out the old sneaks but still have the suit to go with it. Hey, as long as everything fits it should work. The shirt matched the shoes, so I was fine. Style’s all about colour coordination. My mom and sister say that requires three solid colours. More, and you’re probably too clashy and too “colourful,” if you get my drift. Shoes, though, you can branch out a bit more. But it really depends on what you’re wearing. Anyway, I’m not a stylist, so enough of my jabber. I thought the shoes really worked especially since I have “Ruff” in mango orange on the back of both shoes. Stands out and declares who I am. Don’t believe it’s too “loud.”
Anyway, as I was looking at myself in the mirror and thinking about the ZZ Top song, there were repetitive knocks at my door that sounded quite urgent. I opened the door to have my two friends looking at me with hurried looks on their faces.
“We’ve got to go,” says Taiki, and soon I’ve thrown on a coat, scarf, and hat, and dashing out the door.
We began racing down the stairs to get to the bus stop. Now, let me remind you that running on ice is not recommended unless you plan to break your neck or kill yourself in the process. So, we tried to run as fast we could in order to get to the bus stop, but the slippery ice got in our way. Judging by our watches and our knowledge of when the buses arrived at the UBCO campus, we had about ten minutes. But with Mark and my track record, we usually were late. Luckily, we made it on time and with time to spare. Mark though, looked at me and pointed out that I was improperly dressed when we were sitting down in the bus shelter. My shoes weren’t dress shoes. I used his line, “classy and ready to party,” but he didn’t seem to happy by it.
Soon, the bus arrived and we were on our way. I was so excited, I had never been to a casino before. I thought of this really nice room with tons of games to play. Maybe lots of flashing lights and cool effects. I thought about the casino out look of Casino Rama in Ontario or some of the Vegas ones, but I wasn’t really sure what Kelowna would offer me. I just hoped it would be a nice looking place. It was. The first step though was the ID scan. If you passed that, you were in. We passed and we were in. Like a greedy kid, I was excited to try every new flashy toy in front of me. I gave my coat to the woman at the desk and I was “ready to party,” or just gamble.
My night began with roulette. $5, kaching! In the machine. I played quite well and tried to think of all the odds I had. I thought about what my Math teacher said in Grade 7 about odds and tried to play it with the roulette table. Well, I did quite well with my little blue bill. Money went up and money went down, but I stayed there for almost two hours calculating odds. When Mark and Taiki came over, Mark noticed one strategy I was doing that was strictly “suicide” or an idiot move. I was betting on all blacks and all reds. That would mean that I would just keep winning and losing the same amount, so never going up just staying constant. With gambling, you never want to be “constant,” you want to go up. So if I bet $2 dollars on black and red, I lose two dollars or gain the same $2 I already had. If I had $5 to start with and use this strategy I would never lose that bill. So when I bet $2, I have $3 but then I’ll soon have $5 with that strategy but never more or less. Understand? You probably do, but it took me a while before I really understood it.
Once, I was up to $14 but soon lost that, because I kept betting. Should have “cashed out.” But as Mark would say, “Shoulda, coulda, woulda.” I counted numbers, calculated the odds (even numbers frequently have a better chance), and just did a whole lot of thinking. Still, the final result, nothing. Oh well, goodbye $5.
So, I moved onto Black Jack. I sat beside this older man named Rene (Ren-ay) who seemed to know what he was doing when it came to this game. Also, the dealer helped me out so I didn’t just blow away another $5 bill. Still did though, but not as quickly. It’s a pretty simple game and I learned a lot. The goal is to add up to 21. Ace can either count as 1 or 11, depending on the hand. All the face cards equal 10 and all the other numbers stay at their same value. From what the dealer told me, you always hit on a soft 17 or 16, so that’s a 6 with an Ace or a 5 with an Ace. “Hit” means you want to keep being “hit” with cards. “Stay,” is pretty straight forward and it means you don’t want to go up any higher. You can also “split,” which means you split the two cards you received. Say, you split two Aces, good odds. Apparently 7 is a really good number and I “split” three times. That means I split the cards four ways so I had four hands to choose from. It’s quite common but it seemed the Gambling Gods were on my side. Just to mock me, because I lost everything and I was up by like $25. I played a few games and lost $15 of my own money but had a great experience. After that, I went back to roulette but noticed I only had four loonies, so I asked Mark if he could supply another loonie. He did. I didn’t win in roulette the second time, and lost all my money quite quickly as opposed to the first. For those of you calculating, I lost $20. That’s not bad but the urge to gamble was so great. It was beckoning me into the jaws of the wolf, but I snapped back: I didn’t give in to the Gambling Gods.
None of us won that night, but it was a great experience. We left at 11:20 pm and still caught the bus in time. I gained so much knowledge and am excited to go back and “gamble” again. I think I’ll plan for $15 this time though.